Author Topic: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?  (Read 2381 times)

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Offline Desert Fox

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Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« on: September 20, 2016, 09:22:25 AM »
I have often had both computer repair techs and auto mechanics either lie to me or treat a situation generally dishonestly.  As a matter of self defense, I have needed to learn to be able to do as many repairs as possible. I usually will also go to friends who know something first. This includes both with automobile repairs and computer repairs. Just seems to be a bad business model?

I am also kind of curious. . . I have had no dealings with Geek Squad and the like and wondering if they are any different?

Thought I would concentrate on a couple of old computer problems I had

One was where I built an Athlon PC with a Slot-A processor many years ago. It kept crashing on me. Brought it to a computer store who told me that I put the cooling fan in  improperly and that is why it was crashing (and charged me money). Got it back and it kept crashing and it turned out to be a bad motherboard. Got a new motherboard and never had an issue. Did they test anything?

Similar problem was when I had a computer which would not boot up. Made some calls to see what I could find out. One computer store, not the previous one, and they told me "Bring the computer in and we will tell us if you need a new computer." Bet any amount of money that no matter the problem, they would have told me that I needed a new computer.  I don't see computer issues as "needing a new computer." Might be that you need a new motherboard, video card, ram, etc but rarely a whole new computer.

Finally had a friend who suggested I listen to the peep codes and was able to find out that a memory stick had died from the beep codes. The memory was under warranty so it did not cost me anything other than shipping. 
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 11:07:09 AM »
Because they can.

When I've dealt with computer tech guys, I find they usually seem to be lying when they don't seem to actually know what they're talking about.  Car mechanics are generally just trying to get an extra buck or two. 



Similar problem was when I had a computer which would not boot up. Made some calls to see what I could find out. One computer store, not the previous one, and they told me "Bring the computer in and we will tell us if you need a new computer." Bet any amount of money that no matter the problem, they would have told me that I needed a new computer.  I don't see computer issues as "needing a new computer." Might be that you need a new motherboard, video card, ram, etc but rarely a whole new computer. 
This strikes as much as just ignorance on the part of the tech as anything.  Easiest way to repair a computer is to replace.


My wife is constantly underrating my ability to repair both household items and cars.  I eventually realized its because she has know idea how easy some things are.  She didn't think I could replace a headlight?  Seriously, who can't.  Any rate, if that's your average customer, it would be hard not to pad the bill. 

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2016, 11:23:17 AM »
I just replaced both the CCRM and the cooling fan on my car. . . .My car would try to overheat when I was stopped and running the AC.
Many repairs are far easier than people think they are.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 02:45:31 PM »
I think part of the reason is because so many customers have unrealistic expectations about how much effort it takes to do these things.  I know I've had many conversations similar to this:

Quote
THEM: This computer is slow and freezes sometimes and resets.  Can you please figure out what the problem is and fix it?

ME: Sure.  That may take a few hour's worth of labor to determine with reasonable certainty, plus parts and replacement, expect to pay around $400.

THEM: What?! That's ridiculous.  I could almost buy a new computer for that!

ME: Perhaps you should.

THEM: Look, can't you just quick look and tell what it probably is?

ME: Yes, just based on your description I can make some educated guesses as to what the problem is.

THEM: Great, perfect.  Then let's replace whatever you think it is.

ME: Okay, sure.

THEM: And you guarantee that will fix it?

ME: Absolutely not.

THEM: So I might buy the new part, pay you to replace it, and not fix the problem at all?

ME: That is a possibility.

THEM: This is bullshit!  You should at least refund the labor if it doesn't solve the problem!

ME: Sorry, I won't work for free.

THEM: Well fuck you then!  I'll take it to Tricky Nick's Discount PC Repair!  They said they'll tell me what's wrong for $50!

ME: Very well, good luck with that.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 03:35:40 PM »
You have to play something of a long game. If you give good service for a reasonable price, the customer is far more likely to come back to you.

For common problems, you can often give a guesstimate in just a few moments.
On desktops, you can easily swap of ram and see if it boots.
Run a program designed to work the system, you don't have to be physically watching it every moment, and see what may be causing the crash.

Same with cars where 80% of problems can be known within a few minutes.


"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2016, 05:37:55 PM »
You have to play something of a long game. If you give good service for a reasonable price, the customer is far more likely to come back to you.

For common problems, you can often give a guesstimate in just a few moments.

Sure, but people want an estimate, not a guesstimate.

Quote
On desktops, you can easily swap of ram and see if it boots.

Failures to boot are among the easiest problems to diagnose because the problem is easily reproducible.

Quote
Run a program designed to work the system, you don't have to be physically watching it every moment, and see what may be causing the crash.

Assuming it's kind enough to leave the screen up showing the last thing it did.  And assuming the problem is load-dependent.

Quote
Same with cars where 80% of problems can be known within a few minutes.

Which is great, so long as people are happy with 80% of problems being solved.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Offline Sawyer

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2016, 05:59:33 PM »
I think that computer repair companies went through a particularly brutal evolution in the late 90s.  When my parents bought their first computer, pretty much everyone went to a specialty shop to both purchase and perform maintenance.  Best Buy, Apple Store, and online sellers were not in the game yet.  There was a fairly level playing field for companies in this market, and a fairly diverse set of customers.  This changed as customers started getting a wider variety of stores to choose from, which was also accompanied by large drops in prices.  Computer stores started losing customers, and they started losing competent customers.  Once the internet became popular anyone with some know-how could download anti-virus software and look up how to install a new video card.  Speculating here, but I think in the face of this many stores decided to milk their less knowledgeable customers for every last nickel, knowing that more competent users had other places to go.

There is no business on the face of the Earth that I despise more than the company my father bought his last computer from.  They charged him easily 60% more than the retail price of a typical desktop computer, and more than double what I would expect when he needed service (which was probably only needed do to their own choices of mediocre hardware).  Oh and they wiped his hard drive in the process of fixing a USB port.  I finally had to explain to my father that these were not merely poor technicians, but con artists stealing his money.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2016, 06:10:24 PM »
Which is great, so long as people are happy with 80% of problems being solved.

When you go to the doctor, you know that the doctor is just doing the best he or she can.
Just the same, I never expect anything from a repair person with 100% confidence.
I don't want you to deceive me however. I suspect that most customers feel the same way.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2016, 06:15:30 PM »
I think that computer repair companies went through a particularly brutal evolution in the late 90s.  When my parents bought their first computer, pretty much everyone went to a specialty shop to both purchase and perform maintenance.  Best Buy, Apple Store, and online sellers were not in the game yet.  There was a fairly level playing field for companies in this market, and a fairly diverse set of customers.  This changed as customers started getting a wider variety of stores to choose from, which was also accompanied by large drops in prices.  Computer stores started losing customers, and they started losing competent customers.  Once the internet became popular anyone with some know-how could download anti-virus software and look up how to install a new video card. Speculating here, but I think in the face of this many stores decided to milk their less knowledgeable customers for every last nickel, knowing that more competent users had other places to go.

There is no business on the face of the Earth that I despise more than the company my father bought his last computer from.  They charged him easily 60% more than the retail price of a typical desktop computer, and more than double what I would expect when he needed service (which was probably only needed do to their own choices of mediocre hardware).  Oh and they wiped his hard drive in the process of fixing a USB port.  I finally had to explain to my father that these were not merely poor technicians, but con artists stealing his money.

The other thing is that those who are reasonably knowledgeable can save serious money by buying online.
I found a hard drive online once and I called a local compute store. They literally wanted twice the price locally. 
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline SQ the ΣΛ/IGMд

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 06:11:08 AM »
I've been a computer repair tech for over 20 years. Many times I make shit up that's easier for the layperson to understand instead of going into a long technical description of what's actually happening. I'm not going to explain the detailed inner workings of a computer to someone who can't tell the difference between a USB and video cable.

I don't do it for any type of gain. I just do it to save time. If I actually tried to explain in detail, it would go right over their head anyway.
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Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 06:27:52 AM »
I've been a computer repair tech for over 20 years. Many times I make shit up that's easier for the layperson to understand instead of going into a long technical description of what's actually happening. I'm not going to explain the detailed inner workings of a computer to someone who can't tell the difference between a USB and video cable.

I don't do it for any type of gain. I just do it to save time. If I actually tried to explain in detail, it would go right over their head anyway.

Simplifying is fine. . . . .Your motherboard is bad is fine. Saying that I put the heat sink on the cpu wrong and that not being the problem is a problem.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline SQ the ΣΛ/IGMд

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2016, 06:50:02 AM »
I've been a computer repair tech for over 20 years. Many times I make shit up that's easier for the layperson to understand instead of going into a long technical description of what's actually happening. I'm not going to explain the detailed inner workings of a computer to someone who can't tell the difference between a USB and video cable.

I don't do it for any type of gain. I just do it to save time. If I actually tried to explain in detail, it would go right over their head anyway.

Simplifying is fine. . . . .Your motherboard is bad is fine. Saying that I put the heat sink on the cpu wrong and that not being the problem is a problem.

I agree. I've found most Geek Squad techs to be idiots. They troubleshoot from a book and have very little real world experience. I applied there for the manager's position when they first opened up in my area and was told I was over qualified.
"That's ridiculous, spooks. That's silly!" ~ The Tin Woodsman - The Wizard of Oz ~

"Like it or not, we are stuck with science.  We had better make the best of it." ~ Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World ~

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2016, 07:06:42 AM »
I agree. I've found most Geek Squad techs to be idiots. They troubleshoot from a book and have very little real world experience. I applied there for the manager's position when they first opened up in my area and was told I was over qualified.

Every computer issue  that I went to a computer store has been years ago. It would have been before Geek squad.

Today, I would just Google a problem followed by asking on a few forums. Some simple tries I might try on my own as well such as removing / replacing memory and such. If a new computer keeps crashing, I likely would just contact the seller / manufacturer of the motherboard and send it back. While I am actually almost 100% sure that I put the heat sink / cooling fan on the processor,  today's heat sinks are much easier to put in.

My present problems repairs are mostly with car issues that are just above my skill level or that I don't have the equipment. I had a semi-backyard mechanic before I moved.  He also was having problems with his back as well.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Dirty J. Martini

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2016, 02:00:51 AM »
I haven't needed a tech repair in years, but I have had to deal with repair people in my house who lie. We rent a house, so we have to call the property manager before any repairs can happen. They inevitably go like this:

Repair person shows up unannounced when nobody's home. I get a call at work saying, "I'm standing outside your door, but nobody's answering." I then say, "Yeah, well the property manager said you'd call to set up a time, but you never did that, so I didn't know you were coming." Often at this point they start lying. "Well, I called, but nobody answered." No you didn't. I have caller ID and voicemail. I'm not an idiot.

We reschedule and they come back to do the repair. They show up, figure out what the problem is, then say, "Oh, I... uh... need a part. I have to run to home depot to get it. I'll be back in 20 minutes." 3 hours later I'm on the phone with the property manager explaining that they came and looked at the problem, then left and never returned. Every. God. Damn. Time.

When they finally do show up to do the work, you better hope it doesn't take more than a day to complete. If it does, you get the, "I'll be back tomorrow to finish this up..." and 3 weeks later you still have a hole in your ceiling, or whatever. What is wrong with these people? If you aren't sure that you'll actually be back the next day, say that! If you're sure you will be, then something comes up tomorrow, just give me a freakin' call to let me know! Is it really that hard?

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Why do repair techs / mechanics lie so often to customers?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2016, 03:09:08 AM »
I was recently, month or so back, having a squeaking coming from my front end.
Did the "Google" and found out that it was probably one of my ball joints.
Sprayed the offending one down with WD40 to give me a bit of time.
Also since it stopped squeaking, pretty much confirmed that was the problem.

Watched a video on YouTube and it seemed too complex for me to do easily.
I did get the backyard mechanic to do it. Cost me $170 which was MUCH cheaper than a shop.
In retrospect though, watching him do it, I could have done it myself.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

 

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